Emphasizing Some Points on the Ilhan Anti-Semitism Controversy

It is worth emphasizing some points on the Ilhan “anti-Semitism” controversy. If you want to get up to speed, you can read this, this, and watch this.

Here are the points:

  1. Ilhan did great by verbally supporting BDS and by pointing to the corrosive influence of Zionism in US government.
  2. The political backlash against Ilhan has been ridiculous and morally vile in every way.
  3. Ilhan was wrong to apologize. She has mistakenly apologized for criticizing Israel in the past.
  4. Despite the apology, the ensuing controversy has had a beneficial result in creating a national conversation on Zionist influence.
  5. It is possible for a wrong action to have a beneficial result. The beneficial result does not negate the wrongness of the action, especially when the beneficial result could conceivably have been obtained without the wrong action.
  6. Muslims must hold politicians accountable, especially politicians that, for better or worse, represent them.
  7. Criticizing Ilhan (or any other Muslim politician) does not mean that we do not wish the best for her or do not want to see her succeed in this life and the next.
  8. If Muslims do not criticize politicians when those politicians compromise on important issues, then those politicians will grow to ignore Muslim interests and will compromise more easily next time.
  9. In other words, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. This is a truism in American political discourse.
  10. Compromising on Palestine is never acceptable.
  11. No promise of influence justifies apologizing to your oppressor.”
  12. Some Muslims have become increasingly conditioned to accept compromises on Palestine and excusing these compromises as “political nuance,” “political realism,” or “long-term strategy.”
  13. These excuses are destructive, further the Zionist agenda, and, thus, must be loudly rejected.
  14. There are some “house Muslims” affiliated with Zionist organizations that are at the forefront of pushing these excuses in the Muslim community.
  15. The more such compromises and the excuses justifying them become acceptable, the lower the bar for what kind of political positions are acceptable to us as a community.
  16. Apologizing for criticizing Israel and Zionist influence and conceding that such criticism can sometimes constitute anti-Semitism is a major compromise and undermines the ability of others to offer such criticism of Israel in the future.
  17. Long experience suggests that any attempt at appeasing [the Zionist lobby through apology] only invites more pressure.”
  18. Ilhan has already forged a record of compromising on Islamic principles. Some claim that Muslims ought to support her as a fellow Muslim sister despite these compromises because, at the end of the day, she is a “strong force for justice” on Palestine. Yet, even in this area, she has made these wrongful concessions.
  19. When Muslim religious figures and community leaders promote Ilhan, fundraise for her, praise her work, etc., they, in effect, give her religious legitimacy and imply that her actions, policy positions, behavior, etc., are acceptable in Islam.
  20. This inevitably and deeply affects how the community understands Islam and what it means to be a good Muslim.
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